Stowaway, 107

If You Love Your Home, it Doesn’t Matter How Often You Come Back to it, You’re Always Happy

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“Thanks for everything,” Robin said, as Pax lingered in the doorway.

“Of course. There’s nothing to thank,” said Pax, nodding. “You know I’d do anything for you.”

“I do. But it always means a lot to me. I know you have to go back now.”

“I do,” Pax agreed. He sighed. “But I appreciate having spent all this time with you.”

“Me too. See you.”

“Goodbye,” Pax said, letting Robin kiss him one more time. “Good luck with Narwhal Junction.”

“Good luck with the entire ocean. Let me know when you’re fighting the Sea King.”

“I will. It was very nice to meet you, Wally.”

Wally was a blonde werewolf whose hair covered his ears. He smiled, giving Pax a hug too. “It was nice to meet you. You too, Nate.”

You’re a good guy, Nate told Wally. It was nice to meet you.

Wally nodded, taking Robin’s hand as Pax stood back. He sighed. “Okay, goodbye.”

“Goodbye,” said Robin.



“I’m going now.”

“Okay, love you.”

“Love you too.”

Robin was smiling. Pax smiled back, nodded, and stepped back through the portal. “Bye,” he said, shutting the door.

Back on the ship, he sighed. You okay? Nate asked.

“Of course. We’re going to see them again in a few days when we have dinner together,” said Pax, shaking his head. “Anyway, let’s go do our actual jobs.”

We could take some time off. We did save the world.

“Yes, but that was several days ago. I think we should go to work.” So Pax went up to the helm, where Natalie was doing work. “Reporting for duty, Captain.”

“It’s about damn time.” Natalie looked him up and down. “Denver, Louis, Matthias and John came back an hour ago.”

“There were some loose ends,” Pax explained. “Which are now tied off. Did anything interesting happen while we were saving the world? The world was saved, by the way, which I presume Sharon told you.”

“She did. Thanks for that. We ran into a ship yesterday that had narrowly escaped pirates down south.”

Pax perked up at that. “Is that so?”

Natalie nodded. “Yes. And apparently, at least according to the captain, the pirates claimed to be working for the Sea King.”

“Good,” said Pax, looking south. “I mean, not good, of course, because piracy is bad in general. But it’s good to know that the Sea King is where he’s meant to be.”

Except of course, said Nate, that he’s not meant to be anywhere except for in several pieces scattered around the world, and the fact that he’s in one place suggests that something is still wrong.

“Yes, well, we’re going to right that wrong, finally,” said Natalie. “By which I do mean in a few weeks when we eventually get down there.”

“Definitive statements like that are often modified by large stretches of time,” Pax agreed with a sigh. “But it’s fine. Time isn’t real anyway, so we will pretend that it won’t actually take that long.”

“Works for me. In the mean-not-time, would you work out the schedule to give Pig and Jade some time off together? And also put together a wedding for them. They want to get married.”

“Oh!” said Pax, clapping his hands. “That’s marvellous. I presume you’ll be marrying them, which is very good. I’ll speak with them and see what they’d like for décor. I think a sunrise theme might fit their relationship, but I’ll defer slightly to their questionable judgement, since it is their wedding.” This was great, Pax hadn’t been to a wedding since Denver’s wedding, which he supposed hadn’t actually been that long ago.

We should go congratulate them, Nate said. He sounded and felt very happy.

“Yes, we should do that,” Pax agreed. “Unless they’re currently having sex, in which case we will wait. But we’ll go check. Has anything else momentous and/or celebration-worthy happened while we were gone?” Honestly, they’d only been gone for four days and it was like the whole ship was different. In reality it was only two things and they weren’t so much different as they were proceeding along expected lines, but still, Pax felt that it was awfully presumptuous of those things to have happened without him.

“No,” said Natalie, relieving Pax. “We may have to stop for supplies soon.”

“Why would we do that when we can portal to Pelican Bay or Narwhal Junction and buy supplies?” Pax asked. That seemed foolish.

Before Natalie could answer, Nate borrowed his throat and answered for her. “Because stopping at an island also lets the crew have a little shore leave. We’re about to ask them all to do something dangerous, so they should be rested.”

“Exactly,” said Natalie, smiling. “I know we can send them all to one of the cities with portals for rest, but who the fuck wants to go somewhere where it’s winter when there are tropical islands?”

“The Sea King has waited months,” Nate agreed. “He’ll wait a few additional days while we rest up.”

Defeated, Pax just nodded. “Fine. Normally we trade for supplies and we don’t currently have anything to trade. I guess we’ll have to acquire something.”

“I’ve tasked Denver with that in his capacity as quartermaster.”

Pax nodded again, because that was also where he’d been going with that. “Okay. Well in that case, I see my input is not needed except to organize the shore leave. Will we be stopping at one of those islands in Bevia that don’t have any particular laws?”

“Probably, Jade likes those ones and it’ll be her honeymoon,” Natalie said with a smirk. “I’m sure you’ll survive.”

“I’m sure I will too, I’ve never died on an island before. I was actually thinking we could ask John for suggestions, he used to live on Bevia and might know of some good lawless islands. Presumably we want one with people on it, or should we aim for one that’s empty? The last time we did that it turned out not to be empty, but we did meet John, which though I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I am now forced to look back on it fondly considering we’re friends now.”

Natalie was smiling. “We’ll look for one with people. It’s good to have you two back.”

We really weren’t gone that long, Nate said

“I know. Go congratulate Pig and Jade. And Sharon wants to talk to you. And also, I haven’t had any time off since you left, so you can come take the helm afterwards.”

Pax saluted. “Yes, Captain,” he said, hurrying off with a smile on his face. He felt like there had been numerous occasions lately when he’d expressed pleasure at being home, but here he was again, home and feeling pleasure and Pax didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.

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